SANTA FE, NM - FEBRUARY 23: Writer George R. R. Martin participates in a Q & A session following SundanceTV's "Hap & Leonard"
Steve Snowden/Getty Images for AMC Networks

Can you believe it's already been a year since A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin clued us in to how tricky it is writing The Winds of Winter? We're going on six years since A Dance with Dragons (book five), marking the longest stretch between entries since the saga began in 1995. HBO's Game of Thrones has already galloped far beyond the existing roadmap, and will conclude after just two more abbreviated seasons.

Yet no scent of Winds, no ravens bearing good tidings.

On his beloved LiveJournal on Monday, Martin welcomed the New Year with a post titled "Doom, Despair, Defeat." It didn't talk about A Song of Ice and Fire—but a commenter did, saying "unless you want to be bombarded with im's like this, i would suggest another updated [sic]."

Martin's reply:

"You really think statements like that would make a difference? Ah, you sweet summer child. I have years of experience with this that tells me otherwise.

But okay, I will try it your way.

Not done yet, but I've made progress. But not as much as I hoped a year ago, when I thought to be done by now.

I think it will be out this year. (But hey, I thought the same thing last year)."

If George R.R. Martin's not done, not even claiming close-to-done–ness, it seems impossible that The Winds of Winter will be published this year. It follows tomes of 753 and 1,056 pages. It's the penultimate—and arguably most pivotal—book in a tale that's already 4,000 pages deep. And Martin's been careful to remind people of one of the basic tenets of writing anything of any length, writing last January, "I always do a lot of rewriting, sometimes just polishing, sometimes pretty major restructures."

In that same long post from one year ago, Martin also spoke about how he's aware of everyone's disappointment in the drought, and that "no one could possibly be more disappointed than me." He was candid about the depression and anxiety working on this series can bring. He fairly tempered our expectations: it'll be done when it's done, and that's okay.

But we'd sell one of Daenerys' dragons if we could read it in 2017.

Hear Fuse's Back of the Class podcast break down the Game of Thrones Season 6 finale in the episode below: